The Lowdown on the Lovett Inn Becoming a Hostel

Categories: Spaced City

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The group has hostels across the globe
Earlier we wrote about rumors circulating in Montrose about the Lovett Inn, the beloved bed and breakfast, becoming a youth hostel.

The people behind the project here saw the item and came by the Houston Press offices to talk about it.

They're hoping to open in May or June and plan to have 48 to 50 beds in the place, probably charging $25 or so a night.

Not much renovation will be done: Instead of the beds in there now, bunk beds will be installed. The inn's carriage house will also likely be renovated, possibly to accommodate private rooms for higher prices.

The nonprofit Hostelling International USA will operate the place. Board member Doug Markham says they have been trying, more or less, to have a hostel in Houston for 17 years.

The purchase price of the inn is not being revealed, and HIUSA will have to get some parking variances.

But Markham thinks parking won't be a problem. "They probably have more cars now at times, with the events they have like weddings, than they would have with us," he says.

The group will continue meeting with neighborhood organizations about any concerns, he says.

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37 comments
Lynn Wilson
Lynn Wilson

I recently visited the Hostelling International's Austin Hostel...and enjoyed Texas way more than expected so it's great to know that we can plan a trip to Houston, too! My husband and I are avid cycle tourists and enjoy the opportunities for meeting fellow travelers that hostels afford.

Penajose1990
Penajose1990

I doubt this because if most of the people who travel to stay at the Hostel will most likely be transporting to Houston by plane or bus meaning they did not bring their vehicles.

Sam
Sam

Hostelers are punk kids???

My husband and I both have Ph.D.s (he is a professor at a medical school) and my daughter is a nurse at a nationally recognized hospital. All of us have traveled within U.S. and abroad staying at expensive hotels/resorts, as well as, hostels. Our most memorable experiences have been at hostels where we have always had personal interactions. At hostels we have met young backpackers, families with children of all ages, a group of middle-aged female bicyclists, and older individuals (in 70's) - all with fascinating stories and advice on interesting places to explore.

Hostels, especially those within HI-USA network (Hosteling International-USA), are clean, safe, inexpensive places for people of all ages to stay while exploring a city, a state park, a region, etc. They provide opportunities to meet and get to know interesting people from many different cultures and walks of life.

Many women (including middle-age) who travel independently love staying at hostels. Why? Through various organized group events and the intentional design of a hostel (common living rooms and kitchens), hostels provide opportunities to connect with others staying at the hostel and with people from the community and to explore the locale. One is not isolated when staying at a hostel like one would be while staying in a hotel or motel.

Many hostels provide unique experiences and promote better understanding of individuals who are different from ourselves. This occurs between individuals staying at the hostel, between hostelers and people from the local community, and between children and groups within the community in which the hostel is located.

Would I want a hostel moving into my neighborhood? Would depend on reputation of the organization running the hostel. Like everything else, not all hostel organizations are equal or good. So I would suggest checking into the reputation of HI-USA and contacting communities in which they have small to mid-sized hostels and finding out what the hostels' neighbors think.

Neighbor of the Lovett Inn
Neighbor of the Lovett Inn

What I find most interesting is Markham assessment that the parking will be no problem and no different than the events like weddings is completely baseless...I talked to him today and he admits that he's never been at the Lovett Inn during a wedding...now isn't that deceptive!!! I live on the street for the last 12 years and parking is a nightmare every time the Inn has a wedding...which fortunately is only about 15 times a year. They however have no concerns proposing they throw one EVERY night of the week!

Ordinances are on the books for good reason and to prevent in this case on street parking congestion...we should respect the professionals and engineers that develop these rules and dismiss the less than factual arguments and speculative talk that tries to get a variance from them!

Can'tFoolMe
Can'tFoolMe

LOL! It seems like HI's PR people have been posting comments on here. Its like they all have the same talking points...what a joke.

Lovett Boulevard resident
Lovett Boulevard resident

It is surprising to hear so many positive comments about HI and how they reach out to the community. One poster writes that she has been working with the HI Houston volunteers to provide educational services. Obviously this plan has been in the works for a while. As a long-time resident of Lovett Blvd., I would like to comment on HI's outreach to my community. I first heard of the proposed hostel by receiving a notice from the city 2 days ago about a parking variance request. Since I have talked to my neighbors on this residential street, and none of us were aware of HI's plans to join our community. To read in the Houston Press the charming upscale B-n-B, The Lovett Inn would become a 50-bed hostel was startling to say the least.

Neither the current owner nor HI has made any attempt to reach out to us, the community where HI wants to locate to provide information and education about what this could mean - positive or negative - to our neighborhood. Outreach to the community? My front door is less than 100 feet from this new hostel and no one reached out to me. Am I not the community?

Tom
Tom

I'm a 50 year old Vice President of I.T., and I stayed in the Gaslamp Hostel in San Diego recently. I'm not exactly a kid off the streets. Furthermore, HI hostels have stay-limits for number of nights and other ways to keep their standards up. I'll be in Houston attending a rocketry event this Spring, and I'll look forward to hostelling as ever.

Jenniferb
Jenniferb

Hostels are a wonderful place to stay and extremely affordable for those on a budget when traveling. I have stayed in few hostels in Germany and Austria and it was a wonderful experience. One hostel we stayed in was like being in a bed and breakfast, while other Hostels are much larger and have things like rec rooms, computer rooms (where students can go online and as well as do their homework) and even libraries! Hostels do so much more than just provide inexpensive lodging for travels, not only are international people brought together but they help bring local communities together by giving back as well.

AmandaB
AmandaB

This is very exciting news for Houston! Hostels have been around in the US for over 75 years but so many people are still unaware of them and only think of hostels being in Europe. The more cities they can be in, the better for everyone as they provide a great place for travelers of all ages to meet, get to know one another and help break cultural stereotypes. I've had amazing experiences at hostels around the world, including here in the US and can't wait to try out the one in Houston one of these days!

Arielle
Arielle

So exciting! I've had the pleasure of working on educational programming with some of the amazing HI volunteers in Houston. The hostel will be a great resource as they continue to help local youth learn more about the world and respect for other cultures!

World Foodie
World Foodie

Finally Houston, a world class city, is getting a HI hostel so she can shine and share her diversity. I've hosteled both domestically and internationally and love what hostels can provide. Hi is a top notch group, and I for one, will be welcoming the hostel with open arms and a hand to shake.

Ane
Ane

How exciting to have a welcoming place for interesting and curious travelers to stay while exploring Houston! There are hostels and there are hostels. There are privately run hostels – some are safe and clean; others not so much. Hostelling International hostels are safe, clean, and most important provide an environment for people of all ages to connect with fellow travelers from around the US and the world. Check out some HI-USA hostels:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Druhe2
Druhe2

Hostel travelers are not very likely to have cars,nor are they likely to be roaming strees, causing trouble. Take a look at this video and you'll get an idea of what the guests are all about and what they come to do in a city.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Deborah

Kayem
Kayem

That's very exciting news! I've been hearing about the desire to open a hostel in Houston for years now, so it's great to know this dream will be realized. What a great addition to a great city.

Sue
Sue

Ask someone about their hostel experiences and they will tell you about the hostels they stayed at, the people they met and the unique travel experience they had in that city. What a great boon for Houston. It is exciting to think about the thousands of international and US travelers, both young and young-at-heart, will now be able to meet in Houston. As for the parking issue - it is surprising how many hostellers rent cars, hostellers are travelers who stay in hostels not only because they are affordable, but because it is a great place to "understand the world and its people."

Exusme21
Exusme21

Hostels are a great way to travel on the cheap. They are not just for punk kids. I am a college grad, and when I travel I stay at hostels. For about $25 bucks you get a bed, a locker a shower and a common area where you can get online. Perfect. One hostel I stayed at in Ireland had a community kitchen and every day hostelers went grocery shopping and cooked and cleaned dinner for themselves or their groups. We had a free breakfast and laundry service for $5. Germany had hostels that had pool tables, pay computers and a full bar. In NYC a person can get a place to stay for cheap in the most expensive city around. If you are unsure of it try it once. For Houston I think hostels are great because Texas is not pedeStrian freindly and hostels in downtown areas are ideal. Thinking of going to a concert but all the hotels are booked because of a Star Trek convention? Think hostel.

Sarah
Sarah

Hostels are not what you think. They are so much cheaper than a hotel/motel. Much more personal instead of stuffy people snubbing you through the halls and you can save money because instead of going out you can cook and eat there. This is especially good if you have a special diet.

Mackenzie
Mackenzie

That is so exciting! Congrats on the hostel. For anyone who doesn't know, Hostelling International is a worldwide respected nonprofit organization. Their hostels are the cleanest and safest you will ever see. HI travellers aren't wandering miscreants, they're youth and adults who want to explore the country in a safe environment. I am a 24 year old college graduate, working on my Masters degree and when I travel, I always use Hostelling International. I've met some of my best friends through HI hostels.

Chip
Chip

Hostels are very common in many other countries. If you've never stayed in one don't knock it. I've stayed in hostels all over the world and met wonderful people young and old. We're just conditioned to staying in hotels and motels here because there are not many hostels. You will not find dead beats and drug addicts staying in hostels. You will find people who would rather spend their travel money exploring a city than on a high priced hotel room.

brianl74
brianl74

I am not sure what your concern with "punk kids" has to do with hostels. Hostels cater to all demographics, age groups, and income levels. I've staying 5 star hotels and hostels.

Hostelling International specifically has the nicest hostels I have seen. There is a very popular on in Austin already. They are drug and alcohol free and promote multiculturalism.

Hostels are NOT just for backpackers anymore. And given the size of Houston, some hostellers may in fact rent cars. Maybe not all, but some will. They tourist,schools groups, girl scouts and church groups, etc. just like at any hotel.

Dmarx
Dmarx

Hostels are wonderful additions to communities! Not sure if any of you have ever stayed in one, but they are great places for travelers to stay while experiencing the neighborhood as well as meet other amazing Americans who love the city.

This is nothing like the Covenant House as described by other commentors here.

uuughwhy
uuughwhy

Great, all we need is more punk kids like the ones from interfaith ministries, and convenant house on our street. They are all trouble makers and wander around during the day with no jobs and looking to cause problems. Just take a peak in the alley during the day and at night behind this place and notice the kids selling/doing drugs. It is not a good thing. Such a beautiful Blvd. being filled with trouble makers.

LauraZ
LauraZ

Houston has had a hostel in the Museum district for a long time.

Frank
Frank

Parking variance? For a hostel? Usually backpackers and student travelers don't have cars. I realize this is Houston, but if you can only afford to stay in a hostel, you're probably not going to rent a car. The city and it's vulture-like parking barons are abysmal.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Only thing I care about is CAN I STILL GO THERE TO VOTE? Seriously, it's walking distance, and I'm lazy.

Jim
Jim

I have operated a hostel for 13 years in the "up scale" Northwest Neighborhood of Portland OR. I can tell you that our neighbors and the area businesses love the hostel and the world travelers we bring in. We are a 74 bed hostel with 23,000 overnights a year from over 40 countries. The young people who stay with us are nearly all college bond or graduates. They are future doctors, lawyers, politicians (God help them)... Only 21% for our guests arrive driving a car, which our neighborhood loves, since parking is an issue in this popular area. My experience says that those of you living near the Houston Hostel will come to love it. Many of our neighbors attend our summer music and BBQ nights. Some volunteer to lead walking tours or cooking at our Kitchen Connection dinners. Others simply drop off tickets to sports games or plays for travelers to use. Believe me, these young people are the "cream of the crop". The ones who give you faith in the next generation. I think the Lovett neighborhood will see that they are lucky to get this hostel.

Mo895
Mo895

Yes, lots of highly educated professionals prefer to stay in a friendly hostel than a cold, isolating hotel room. In the Common Room, everyone feels at home enough to join in any on-going conversation. Last year at the Austin Hostel I met an elderly woman teacher from Japan, a couple of students from Switzerland, a young woman from China to attend an archeology convention, and I picked up a few pointers from someone working on solar-energy. Many teachers, librarians and graduate students and families stay in hostels, to willingly trade off luxury for the opportunity for open interaction with other visitors.To be sure, hostelling is not for everybody. Many Americans are more comfortable moving from box to box--locked inside their Chevy to their locked room at the Hilton, to stare at yet another box on the wall, and call that vacation travelling. For those of us who are curious about the world, the different cultures and ways others think, a hostel is the place of choice.

Guest
Guest

Interesting . . . I got the exact opposite impression: that they expect a lot fewer cars than what weddings and other events at the inn probably bring right now. Markham does not have to actually attend a Lovett Inn wedding to envision parking congestion as you described, does he? Deceptive--really?

Guest
Guest

Seems to me people who share the same interest tend to see the world in similar light and express their view in similar fashion. You and I may consider storm-chaser as nuts, yet to them it's a way of life, above all others. I say, more power to them! Let's stop seeing conspiracy everywhere. Lord knows there are too many of those flying around these days. If you can't do that, be good to your dog. You can trust him, right? That's MY talking point. Always. : )

Peter Pethoe
Peter Pethoe

Hello resident,Before we opened the HI Santa Cruz Hostel we canvassed the neighborhood and spoke with most every resident.  This being an upscale hilltop area in a touristy beach town we forgot about the out-of-town absentee owners.  Their resident ringleader collected $10k to fight us and the City.  Luckily their lawyer was not the best.  Our pro-bono is the smartest lady I ever met.  When we tried to open the hostel in Monterey some neighbors were also upset.  They showed Santa Cruz photos of graffiti obviously by hostellers with nothing else to do.  They forced the mayor to visit us.  Our manager sent him to the ringleader who wrote a letter totally supporting the hostel and the great visitors from all over the globe who speak with her when she's out in the garden.  The mayor had no trouble convincing other councilmembers to allow Monterey HI hostel.  We've had a hostel in Monterey, just three blocks from the Aquarium, for over 11  years without any trouble at all. 

Would be nice for the hostel people to visit the neighborhood, but probably won't happen.Operating a hostel does occupy one's time.Perhaps you could go over, introduce yourself, and maybe volunteer at this non-profit hostel.  Perhaps give a neighborhood walking tour.  Take some hostellers to a ball game, high school or college games are OK.  Occasionally give a city tour.  Demonstrate Texas cooking in their self-help kitchen.  Have a BBQ by the pool.  Hostelling concept grows on you!

 PGP

guest
guest

I also live in the neighborhood, off Lovett and want to clarify that Lovett Boulevard is not solely a residential street, far from it. On the 400 block alone there are 3 businesses on the south side, a radio station, a not-for-profit culture and art center, and a software development firm (which also owns another building on the 600 block). One-third of the north side of the 400 block is residential rental property (a commercial venture). Also there are businesses across from the Lovett Inn; plus 2 law firms and a private school and apartments. The biggest problem with street parking occurred when resident parking permit requirements went into effect on the norht side of the 400 block. No business was consulted and now after 9PM it is a tow zone for vehicles without permits. There are NEVER more than 2 permitted cars in front of a row of town homes that have 2 car garages. The apartment renters never pay the fees and therefore park down the street or in front of other businesses and residences adding to the congestion.One more thing, the variance request, as I understand it, applies to parking on the Lovett Inn premises. The variance is to allow more cars on the property so I do not understand how this effects residents/

Doug
Doug

I am the local volunteer group leader, and apologize if we have not connected with you. We were at the Neartown superneighborhood meeting earlier in the week, and will be at the Avondale Civic Association next Tuesday. We are still working on fundraising, and our usual programs at local libraries and to Girl Scouts, so our local volunteers have been pretty busy. Contact us at hihouston@gmail.com if you wish to meet before the civic club meeting privately about any concerns, or are unable to be at that meeting.

Steve
Steve

HI-USA Hostels are generally used by individual budget travelers and scout/church groups. With annual stay limits of 5-10 days, and credit card reservations, I don't think it will be adding much to the neighborhood crime stats unless you Houstonians roll the visitors for their Euro's and run.

Blake
Blake

"interfaith ministries"

Covenant House, yeah, but what do they have to do with street kids?

Kyle
Kyle

They're people, human beings. Covenant House gives outreach services to youth who don't have a place to sleep. If anything you should be delighted that the 'troublemakers' as you call them will have a cheap place to sleep so that they don't have to stay on the street making trouble. Furthermore, hostels make Houston a more international city where people can come visit for cheap.

Drug addiction is a very serious problem, and people lost in that lifestyle aren't exactly rational actors anymore. Have a little compassion.

Jonathan Bruck
Jonathan Bruck

I dont think the guests coming to the hostel are the same as those staying at Covenant House.

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